‘Anonymous’ Blacks Out the Internet in Response to SOPA Debate

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The government debate over the Stop Online Piracy Act may have taken a break for the holidays, with the hearings in the House of Representatives apparently delayed until an unspecified date next year, but just in case you thought the debate online might calm down, Anonymous has entered the fray.

In a statement released earlier this week, Anonymous announced OpBlackOut, a plan to “replace the face of the internet with a clear message about how we feel about censorship.” Calling SOPA “an oppressive new law that will allow the Federal Government of the United States to shut down, arrest, fine and prosecute any website and its operator(s) at the behest of corporations who can and do stand to profit from weaponized citizenship,” Anonymous is planning OpBlackOut as a response in which front pages of sympathetic websites will be replaced by an image they call “a simple, clear protest page” to stand united against the potential passing of SOPA.

The image calls for Internet users to “assertively prevent SOPA from being enacted,” adding “Remember, we are the people, this is our voice, no system can exist that we do not support.” The aim of the campaign, according to the Anonymous release, is in part to “Get people talking” and “Put the truth not only where it can be seen, but where it cannot be avoided,” with the group suggesting that followers coordinate information with those participating in Occupy protests. Two days after the start of the protest, it doesn’t seem to have caught on, but it may just be early days. Whether or not the protest will do anything to affect the House of Representatives’ debate, of course, is another matter altogether.

MORE: ‘Anonymous’ Releases IP Info for 190 Alleged Pedophiles

Disclosure: Time Inc. parent company Time Warner supports SOPA legislation.

Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.